Delicious fast and easy quinoa recipe!

quinoa_salad

Looking for a great lunch or dinner idea, a change of pace from a sandwich, pizza or a quick pick from your freezer?

Well, this is my favorite! It could be called a salad, but it’s more than that. And at the heart of it is a quick-cooking dish called quinoa.

If you’ve never tried quinoa, here’s what it’s all about.

First, it’s highly nutritious, containing all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa is really high in fiber, iron, phosphorous and magnesium. And it’s absolutely delicious – with a kind of nutty taste – not as “chewy” as brown rice, and much more yummy than that old standby white rice (and a lot healthier)!

But what seems to confuse people the most about quinoa is just how to cook it. It cooks up very similar to rice in that you use a two to one ratio of water to quinoa (two cups water to one cup quinoa, for example). And you can certainly make it in a pot just like rice. But here’s a much easier way.

Using a rice cooker set to “steam,” it takes me about 15 minutes for absolutely perfect quinoa. My rice cooker runs for 5 minutes on “steam,” so I do that three times. When done, all the water will be absorbed and the quinoa light and fluffy with a wonderful “nutty” aroma.

Now, you can certainly enjoy your quinoa right from the steamer, tossed with olive oil, spices and topped with some fish. But my new favorite way to have quinoa is when I’m using it from the fridge — as in “leftovers.”

It’s here that quinoa shines as the perfect, versatile dish that it is, tasting just as great cold as it did from the steamer.

And the best part about this recipe is that you can make it your own, adding your favorite ingredients and getting a highly nutritious meal in the process.

Best ever quinoa and kale recipe!

Must haves:

  • Serving of cooled (or from the refrigerator) cooked Wild Oats organic quinoa, red or traditional (around a half cup), and
  • A serving of fresh, raw kale “torn” into bite-size pieces. (I use around ¾ of a cup).

Add-ins to pick from:

  • Fruit — Dried cranberries or dried blueberries;
  • Nuts – Either chopped walnuts or pecans or slivered almond slices;
  • Cheese – Crumbled goat cheese, around two tablespoons, or the same amount of fresh mozzarella (not the pizza kind) cut into small pieces:
  • Spices – Ground black pepper and a sprinkle of sea salt are all I use. You don’t want to overwhelm the wonderful flavors with spices that are too “heavy”:
  • Dressing – your favorite vinaigrette. You don’t want to use a creamy-type dressing on this dish.

Place the quinoa, kale and your add-in selections along with your dressing in a large bowl and toss well. That’s it!

Once you start cooking with quinoa, I think you’ll find it’s the most versatile and tasty grain (although technically a seed) you’ve ever tried.

 

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